Jew-ish: a Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch

Jake Cohen. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30 (272p) ISBN 978-0-358-35398-0
Cohen, a carb-loving secular Jew with a passion for whipping up Sabbath dinners, shares traditional recipes with numerous variations in his chatty and inventive debut. Drawing from Ashkenazi as well as Persian and Iraqi culinary traditions, the author sets an unorthodox table. Eye-opening creations include pastrami biscuits and gravy, as well as salted honey chopped liver. Russian nachos decode as potato chips topped with caviar and crème fraîche. Even schmaltz finds a new twist, seasoned here with thyme, sage, and lemon zest. Cohen’s noodle game is strong, scoring with three types of kugel. Chicken, of course, is ubiquitous, turning up in everything from soy-glazed chicken salad to Persian chicken and celery stew. And for dessert, what else but matzo tiramisu? Cohen shares a smart take on the importance of brisket recipes, which are “a vessel of family pride and tradition,” and a succinct history of cholent (a “Jewish mash-up of baked beans and beef-barley soup”), but the writing overall is a love it or leave it proposition, with sometimes groan-worthy jokes (the matzo ball soup recipe is a minefield of low humor) and a tone that will either inspire or grate. Home cooks who can roll with Cohen’s banter will find much to kvell about. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/29/2021
Release date: 03/09/2021
Genre: Lifestyle
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-358-35425-3
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